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BYU football: Riley Nelson's resolve might be what won him the starting job at QB

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 29 2012 12:23 p.m. MDT

BYU quarterback Riley Nelson (13) was the starting QB for the Cougars for most of the 2011 season. He will be back for his senior year and is expected to lead the team like previous senior QBs have done in the past.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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Senior quarterback at BYU, Riley Nelson, tore his shoulder in the third game of the 2010 season, giving Freshman Jake Heaps the starting job, according to ESPN. But even with Heaps playing well for some time, Nelson is now back as the starter after leading the team to a 7-1 finish in 2011.

"I fully understand the business and the nature of college football," Nelson told ESPN. "It's cutthroat. It's competitive, and sometimes you're the guy that gets picked, and sometimes you're the guy that gets left out. There's nothing really that you can do about it."

But Nelson did do something about it. He got healthy and played on special teams to help him stay in shape, according to the article.

"I hadn't imagined Riley becoming our quarterback," Mendenhall told ESPN. "Until I watched him put on a scout jersey and run down our kickoff in practice, put on a scout jersey and cover a punt. I watched the team begin to be captivated by how he was handling this very unique situation [of] being the backup. Rather than just having a ball cap on and watching, he was anxiously engaged in doing anything he could to help our team."

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